Drive to Broken Hill
Driving to Broken Hill from any of the major east coast capitals can be thought of a long drive (Adelaide is very lucky to be in such close proximity to the Silver City), but there are wonderful touring adventures along the 'road less travelled' to really make visiting Broken Hill a real outback experience.
Broken Hill (also known as 'The Silver City'), regarded as the capital of the Far West and the gateway to outback Australia, is one destination that should be on any travel list. To the north is the Corner Country, and there are a few great adventure routes to Tibooburra and beyond.
A short drive from Broken Hill is the legendary town of Silverton, the most lively ghost town there is... in fact, the Silverton Hotel at the Burke St corner has been used in films as diverse as Wake in Fright, Mad Max 2, A Town Like Alice, Hostage, Razorback, Journey into Darkness and Golden Soak.
A drink at the historic pub is a must for any visit as is the Silverton Pioneer Museum, the Gaol and Court House and the various local galleries.
Not only is Broken Hill a beautiful town with wonderful architecture (and of course people), but also provides the perfect base for exploring some of the best attractions in this region of Australia.
While over an hour from Menindee and the Darling River, Broken Hill is a must-see destination while travelling the Darling River Run as well as up to the Corner Country towns like Milparinka, Tibooburra, across to Cameron Corner.
It is a wonderful service centre and the first city in Australia to be Heritage Listed.
It is that awesome!
Driving to Broken Hill
**The following are the more common/direct routes from the eastern capitals to Broken Hill. Below them are some adventure routes along the 'road less travelled for the more adventure-minded**.
The drive from Sydney to Broken Hill can be as varied as the outback itself. The most direct route is across the Blue Mountains, worthy of a stopover, then out to Nyngan and along the Barrier Highway to the Silver City. Alternatively, the Sturt Highway route through the Riverina and along the Murray is a wonderful way for those who like the ‘road less travelled’.
Blue Mountains - Barrier Highway
Often, the most direct touring route is not always the most exciting, but not so in this case as this drive to Broken Hill can include a stopover at the world-famous Blue Mountains.
For those who have not experienced the majestic Blue Mountains, the area offers a perfect stopover for a day or two exploring Echo Point, the Three Sisters, and Wentworth Falls.
From the Blue Mountains, the route heads out to Mudgee via the Castlereagh Hwy and onto the Nyngan via the Mitchell Highway before heading west along the Barrier Highway to Broken Hill.
- Sydney <> The Blue Mountains <> Mudgee <> Dubbo <> Nyngan <> Cobar <> Wilcannia <> Broken Hill
The Riverina - Murray River
While it may seem a much longer way to go, the route from Sydney to Broken Hill via the Riverina is only about 150km longer; and in many ways easier as it avoids the often congested road over the Blue Mountains.
The route begins south along the Hume and then heading west along the Sturt Highway (Wagga Wagga exit) for a wonderful tour through the Riverina via Darlington Point, Hay, and Balranald, before meeting up with the Murray River at Euston.
From there, it is onto the ‘fruit bowl’ orchards around Mildura (well worth a stopover) and Wentworth.
Getting to Broken Hill from Wentworth is a straight run up the Silver City Highway but a great alternative is via Lake Mungo (Mungo National Park) and onto Pooncarie before following the path of the Darling River up to Menindee and Menindee Lakes.
From Menindee, is a little over 1 hours’ drive.
- Sydney <> Goulburn <> Wagga Wagga <> Hay <> Mildura <> Wentworth <> Broken Hill
The drive from Melbourne to Broken Hill can easily be done in a day; but where is the fun in that? With many things to do along the way, why not turn a trip into a journey?
The most direct route is via Mildura, Wentworth and straight up to Broken Hill along the Silver City Highway.
Alternatively, for the more adventurous, the Long Paddock from Moama (Echuca) to Wilcannia is an iconic route and from there it is an easy drive west to Broken Hill.
The Long Paddock
The Long Paddock: this great touring route takes in the Murray River at Echuca (a wonderful stopover), before joining the start of the Cobb Highway at Moama and running up through Mathoura, Deniliquin, Wanganella, Booroorban, Hay, Booligal, Ivanhoe Wilcannia. The route then joins the Barrier Highway for the run westwards to Broken Hill.
Echuca is one of those destinations that everyone should put on their list of places to experience. The Port of Echuca is Australia’s paddleboat capital and one of the best places to experience the Murray River. The history of the river and its contribution to opening up the pastoral country has been beautifully preserved and showcases the majestic nature of this region. A wonderful way to start (or finish) a journey along the Long Paddock.
- Melbourne <> The Northern Highway <> Echuca <> Deniliquin <> Hay <> Ivanhoe <> Wilcannia <>Broken Hill
The Calder Highway
The Calder Highway route is the most direct route to Broken Hill from Melbourne and allows the traveller to experience a pleasant drive through the Western District of Victoria, up through the Mallee, onto Mildura then following the Murray westward to Wentworth (where the Murray and Darling Rivers Meet) before joining the Silver City Highway for the run-up to Broken Hill. or alternatively via Lake Mungo or straight up the Darling River to Menindee then across to the Silver City.
A great alternative is via Lake Mungo (Mungo National Park) and onto Pooncarie before following the path of the Darling River up to Menindee and Menindee Lakes.
From Menindee, is a little over 1 hours’ drive.
- Melbourne <> Echuca <> Mathoura <> Deniliquin <> Hay <> Ivanhoe <> Wilcannia <> Broken Hill
There are many ways to drive from Brisbane to Broken Hill, but the two of the most popular seems to be either via the Darling Downs and down the Darling River or the Corner Country for the more adventurous (unsealed road around Cameron Corner). Even though it seems a long way round, it is in many ways the best way to experience Outback New South Wales… and the trip back can be via the Darling River Run.
Somewhat of a grand tour, but one that is worth the extra distance, the route from Brisbane to Broken Hill via the Corner Country takes in the beautiful Toowoomba, through the Darling Downs and onto iconic Dalby, St George and Cunnamulla via the Balonne Highway.
From Cunnamulla, the route continues west along the Adventure Way through Thargomindah before heading south to the remote town (well pub) of Noccundra.
From Noccundra, it is a 180km drive south to the New South Wales-Queensland border (Warri Warri Gate) and into the amazing Sturt National Park, before continuing south through Tibooburra and past Milparinka (a ‘must-see’ experience for Depot Glen, Poole’s Cairn and Poole’s Grave).
From Milparinka, it is a nice run (sealed/gravel 50/50) down the Silver City Highway to Broken Hill.
- Toowoomba <> The Darling Downs <> St George <> Cunnamulla <> Thargomindah <> Noccundra <> Tibooburra <> (Milparinka) <> Broken Hill
Down the Darling
The route from Brisbane to Broken Hill via the Darling starts the same as the Corner Country route above with a great drive through the Lockyer Valley and onto Toowoomba.
From Toowoomba though, the drive heads southwest to Goondiwindi, Moree, and onto Walgett, and the start of the Darling River Run.
The Darling River Run, as part of the drive to Broken Hill, is via the iconic river towns of Brewarrina, Bourke, Louth and Tilpa and Wilcannia where the river meets the Barrier Highway. Most of the Bourke to Louth road is unsealed and the remaining route to Wilcannia is all dirt.
From Wilcannia, it is an easy drive west along the Barrier Highway to Broken Hill.
- Toowoomba <> Goondiwindi <> Moree <> Walgett <> Brewarrina <> Bourke <> Louth <> Tilpa <> Wilcannia <> Broken Hill
Distance: 1,445 km
Despite being the closest capital to Broken Hill, driving from Adelaide also provides some great alternative routes.
While the direct route is straight along the Barrier Highway is an easy way to get there quickly, the route via the Murraylands and Mildura is a wonderful way to get to the Silver City for those wanting more of the tour. Going via Mildura and Wentworth also provides the option of the Lake Mungo and Darling River Run side route.
Not much more direct than this… but that is not always a bad thing, especially when you consider the area around Adelaide that this route covers. To the east of the where the Barrier Highway starts/finishes in Adelaide is the Barossa Valley which is one of Australia’s premier wine-growing regions.
Not far from the Barossa Valley, and on the other side of the highway is the Clare Valley, regarded as one of Australia’s most beautiful wine regions. Not a bad start/finish for the Adelaide-Broken Hill tour.
- Gawler <> Burra <> Barrier Highway <> Broken Hill
Barossa Valley - Sturt Highway
The Sturt Highway route is a little 'limited' by comparison as the route only travels through the Barossa Valley. With only one, and probably the best, wine region to pass through; this route is complimented by crossing the Murray near Blanchetown and re-joining it at Waikerie and Renmark, and a drive east to Mildura before crossing the Murray River near Curlwaa and heading west to Wentworth.
From Wentworth or Mildura there are two choices; straight up the Silver City Highway, up to the Darling River (the Darling River Run), or via the awe-inspiring Lake Mungo in Mungo National Park. (The Darling River Run and Lake Mungo require driving on unsealed roads).
- Adelaide <> Barossa Valley <> Mildura <> Broken Hill:
Distance: 674km (874km if going via Lake Mungo and Menindee
**The routes above are the more common/direct routes from the eastern capitals to Broken Hill **
** Below them are some adventure routes along the 'road less travelled for the more adventure-minded **